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Porirua City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council today announced the membership of a Review Panel appointed to recommend a possible new structure for local government in the Wellington region, and also released the agreed terms of reference for that Panel.
Mayor Nick Leggett from Porirua City and Chair Fran Wilde from Greater Wellington said that the day’s decisions made by both councils were an important part of starting what will be significant discussions with the Wellington region’s communities about local government arrangements.
“This process is not just about structures, although a recommendation from the Panel about a preferred structure will be an outcome,” Nick Leggett said.
“More important is the opportunity for community engagement that this Panel will unlock. The Panel, and indeed both Councils, will be very interested in the discussion that is generated. Community preferences and concerns are important and need to be identified and carefully considered,” he said.
The four person panel is The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Ms Sue Driver, Sir Wira Gardiner, and Mr Bryan Jackson.
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer
Sir Geoffrey Palmer is the Panel’s Chairperson. He has had a wide range of roles in law, diplomacy and the public sector. As well as serving as Prime Minister, he has chaired many panels, advisory committees and commissions, both here and overseas. He has wide experience of public sector issues, including constitutional and resource management law.
Sue Driver brings considerable experience in local government as both a former city and regional councillor. She has extensive connections to the Wellington region’s community and NGO sector and is an experienced RMA Commissioner.
Sir Wira Gardiner
Sir Wira Gardiner (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pikiao, Whakatohea and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) has held many public and private sector roles. He brings an understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi and other matters of relevance to the region’s Māori, as well as knowledge of issues related to emergency management, education and a range of social policy areas.
Bryan Jackson is a company director and business person. He is currently a director on the board of the New Zealand Transport Agency and was a director of KiwiRail. He is also on the boards of a number of private companies and was a previous Chairman of Capacity Infrastructure Services, a Council Controlled Organisation owned by Wellington City Council and Hutt City Council.
“We have been fortunate to secure the services of four outstandingly well qualified New Zealanders, all of whom are passionate about the Wellington region and understand the importance of local government,” Fran Wilde said.
“Terms of reference have now been agreed by Porirua City and Greater Wellington Regional Councils. They are designed to let the Panel fully explore all issues that our communities present to them. We have asked Panel members to undertake a public engagement process that will allow individuals and groups to express their views, and they have been given freedom to do that as they see best.
“The Panel will be able to look at anything they think is important, but we have nominated a number of areas that we want them to consider in coming to their conclusions. One key issue we want explored is how communities and neighbourhoods can make decisions on local issues and how we can achieve meaningful citizen engagement on region-wide issues.
“These issues go to the heart of our democracy and the Panel process will enable Wellingtonians to discuss them in a safe and unbiased environment,” Fran Wilde said.
The panel has till the end of October to deliver the two councils a report recommending what they conclude is an appropriate set of organisational arrangements for local government in the region.
The report could then use as the basis of a submission to the Local Government Commission.